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The number of students within the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning PGR Community has increased from 25 in 2013/14 to 32 in 2019/20. Our PhD students are involved on a variety of projects including ones that focus on the design of innovative houses, spatial navigation, disaster risk reduction and the development of new sustainable building materials.  

Many PhD projects involve collaborations with major international organisations such as Thermacore Europe and Qatar Embassy, which bring invaluable developmental experiences to our students and help strengthen our partnerships with external stakeholders.

See a showcase below of some of our PG researchers and the projects they are carrying out.


Rana Ayman Mohamed 

Supervisors: Zaid Alwan, Lesley McIntyre

Title of thesis: Incorporating Sustainability Aspects and BIM Technologies to Improve Green Project Workflow.

My research interest is in the area of the integration between building information modelling (BIM) and Environmental Sustainability in Architecture practice. With focus on embodied carbon evaluation, my thesis investigates the problems in incorporating sustainability evaluation aspects in digital workflow, then develop and test a framework and tool to facilitate the design of low carbon buildings for architects. Beside my Phd study, I contributed in Early career research (ECR) funded project by Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), which aims to develop a digital energy estimation tool (DEET) for both operational and embodied energy. I completed her bachelor degree in Architecture and Building Technologies in Cairo University, Egypt in 2013, then a master’s degree from Cairo University, Department of Integrated Engineering Design in Construction Projects. Since 2013, I worked as a part time teaching assistant in Cairo University and as an architect in Architecture and interior office in Egypt.


Twitter: Rana_A_Mohamed

See more from Rana


Cecilia Pesce  

Supervisor: Giovanni Pesce

Title of thesis: Tailoring lime properties to the modern construction industry. The effects of organic additives and alternative slaking methods on portlandite mineralogy 

I completed my MSc in 2017 in Chemical Sciences for Conservation of Cultural Heritage at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. Former scientific employee at the Institute of Art and Technology/Conservation Science at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, where I studied consolidation products for historic architectural surfaces. Since 2018 I am enrolled as a PhD student at Northumbria University. My thesis is focused on methods to modify portlandite crystals formed through lime slaking for applications in construction. 




C. Pesce, G. L. Pesce, M. Molinari, A. Richardson: Effects of organic additives on calcium hydroxide crystallisation during lime slaking, Cement and Concrete Research 139 (2021): 106254. DOI:10.1016/j.cemconres.2020.106254.  

C. Pesce, L.M. Moretto, E.F. Orsega, G.L. Pesce, M. Corradi, J. Weber: Effectiveness and Compatibility of a Novel Sustainable Method for Stone Consolidation Based on Di-Ammonium Phosphate and Calcium-Based Nanomaterials, Materials 12 (2019): 3025. DOI:10.3390/ma12183025  

See more from Cecilia


Jianfeng Zhao  

Supervisor: Dr Niraj Thurairajah, Prof David Greenwood 

Title of thesis: Value for Money Assessment of Transport Infrastructure 

I received both my bachelor’s and master’s degree in construction management in 2015 and 2018, respectively. Since I became a PhD student at Northumbria in 2018, my research is about developing a decision-making model for governments so that they can make informed choices between forms of procurement methods for their transport projects. Through this value for money decision, it is anticipated that the specifications and quality service outlined in the contract can materialise throughout transport infrastructure’s life-cycle. Currently, my research interests revolve around Public-Private Partnerships, transport procurement, value for money, and transport resilience. 



Zhao, J., Liu, H.J., Sing, M.C.P., Jin, X. and Ginige, K. (2021). Delivery of Transport Infrastructure Assets: Decision-Making Model to Ensure Value for Money. Journal of Infrastructure Systems, 27(1), 05020008.

Wu, J., Liu, H.J., Sing, M.C.P., Humphrey, R. and Zhao, J. (2020). Public-Private Partnerships: Implications from Policy Changes for Practice in Managing Risks. Engineering Construction and Architectural Management, 27(9), 2253-2269. 

Liu, H.J., Love, P.E.D., Sing, M.C.P., Niu, B., and Zhao, J. (2019). Conceptual framework of life-cycle performance measurement: Ensuring the resilience of transport infrastructure assets. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 77, 615-626. 

Zhao, J., Liu, H.J., Sing, M.C.P. and Humphrey, R. (2019). VfM Assessment of Transport PPPs: Implications for Future Improvement. 43rd AUBRA, Noosa, Australia, 6-8 November. 


Sara Ghanbarzadeh Ghomi 

Supervisor: Dr Kanchana Ginige

My PhD research investigates the applicability of the proposed "Living-TransForming Disaster Relief shelter" (Abbreviated to LTFDR-shelter) approach as a way of providing effective post-disaster housing. The LTFDR-shelter framework takes a proactive approach to mitigate potential challenges regarding living technologies' application in a post-disaster context and accelerate its adoption pace. After being awarded a Master of Architecture Engineering with first-class honours, I have been a university lecturer teaching in residential design studios. Meanwhile, I published my book "Post-disaster Transitional Shelter". Building upon my core interests of designing with nature and emerging novel living technologies, I initiated my interdisciplinary PhD research.


LinkedIn: Sara Ghanbarzadeh Ghomi


Ghanbarzadeh Ghomi, S., Yazdanfar, S. A., & Taghdiri, A. (2015). Post-Disaster Transitional Shelter (1 ed.). Tehran, Iran: Simayedanesh. (ISBN: 978-600-120-219-3)

Ghanbarzadeh Ghomi, S., Wedawatta, G., Ginige, K., Ingirige, B. (2020). Living-Transforming Disaster Relief Shelter: A Conceptual Approach for Sustainable Post-Disaster Housing. Journal of Built Environment Project and Asset Management.

Taghdiri, A. R., & Ghanbarzadeh Ghomi, S. (2016). Advantages of Prefabrication Construction in Comparison with Conventional Construction. Armanshahr Architecture & Urban Development,15,15-25.


Faye Sedgewick  

Supervisor: Dr. Lesley McIntyre 

Title of thesis: Architects and Age-friendly Housing: A Study on the Role of Agency and Design Process 

I completed both my BA and MA with Distinction at Northumbria University, where I was awarded the NAA William Glover Trust, APS National Student Design and the RSA Marketing Trust Awards. This led onto being shortlisted/winning further awards and design competitions, invited to become an RSA Fellow and progress my research-led design inquiry at PhD level. This research is grounded in the experience of Architects involved in the innovative design of age-friendly housing, to provide a theoretical understanding of how the architect’s agency and process influence a design output reflecting a more connected society which meets the needs of all, regardless of age or ability. 


Twitter: @FayeSedgewick 

Publications: Home Sweet Home. How might we harness age-friendly design to ‘future-proof’ homes so they are sustainable, safe and inclusive places to live and enjoy?


Ramy Al-Sehrawy  

Supervisor: Bimal Kumar 

Title of thesis: A Theoretically aware digital twin for urban planning – A critical realist methodology 

I am primarily interested in the convergence of digital technology and the built environment. I completed my MSc at Glasgow Caledonian University in construction management. With more than 6 years of work experience as a Building Information Modelling certified practitioner, I am currently undertaking my PhD at Northumbria. My research aims to explore the notion of Digital Twin and how it can support decision making within urban planning and city infrastructure management. It also focuses on bridging the gap between Digital Twin practices and theoretical or




Al-Sehrawy R., Kumar B. and Watson R. (2021). Digital Twin Uses Classification System for Urban Planning & Infrastructure Program Management. In: Dawood N., Rahimian F., Seyedzadeh S., Sheikhkhoshkar M. (eds) Enabling The Development and Implementation of Digital Twins. Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality. Teesside University Press, UK.  

Al-Sehrawy R., Kumar B. (2021) Digital Twins in Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operations. A Brief Review and Analysis. In: Toledo Santos E., Scheer S. (eds) Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering. ICCCBE 2020. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, vol 98. Springer, Cham.  

Al-Sehrawy R., Kumar B. and Amoudi O. (2019). Exploitation of BIM in Planning & Controlling the Construction Phase On-site Carbon Emission. A 6D BIM Case Study.” International Conference on Innovative Production and Construction, Australia. 


Nafsika Michail  

Supervisor: Dr.Ayse Ozbil Torun, Dr.Kyung Wook Seo, Dr.Rosie Parnell (external advisor) 

Title of thesis: Children’s Active Streetscapes: the role of the built environment in promoting active school travel 

Nafsika’s research aims to contribute to the limited knowledge on child-friendly streets. In the context of designing active, healthy and child-friendly cities and the benefits of active travel for personal, public and environmental health, her research addresses the gaps between behaviour change and built environment, in order to understand the role of built environment in promoting active and healthy behaviours. To achieve such a bridge, her mix-method, child-centred research explores different participatory methods to identify important spaces according to children’s experiences, uses behaviour theories to interpret their attitudes and contextualise children’s behaviours in relation to objectively assessed built environment variables. 


Twitter: @nafsika_michail  



Active Communities: Children's experiences of the social and physical neighbourhood on their journeys to school 

Children's experiences of their journey to school: Integrating behaviour change frameworks to inform the role of the built environment in active school travel promotion


Besmira Dyca 

Supervisors: Kevin Muldoon-Smith, Paul Greenhalgh

Title of thesis: Tackling flood through land values: Land Value Capture Instruments as tools for Flood Risk Management

I am passionate about land and its role in distributional justice. My current PhD research project explores how Blue and Green infrastructure for Flood Risk Management can be mainstreamed through Land Policy Instruments. More specifically, I am researching how Land Value Capture Instruments can contribute to equity in delivering climate adaptation measures, by making more room for water.



Twitter: @BesmiraDyca


Dyca, Besmira, Kevin Muldoon-Smith, and Paul Greenhalgh. 2020. “Common Value: Transferring Development Rights to Make Room for Water.” Environmental Science and Policy 114(April): 312–20.

Vanelli, F., B. Dyca, and P. Rabe. 2020. “Transboundary Water Management in the Western Balkans: Challenges of the Land-Water Nexus in the Drin River Basin.” Annual Review of Territorial Governance in Western Balkans II: 118–39.


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